Xenon Valkyrie+, a rogue-lite platformer game for the Playstation Vita, just came out. Read on to find out why it’s an adventure well worth playing.
Xenon Valkyrie previously came out on Steam for PC gamers, but it’s not I game I played before. The indie scene on the Vita is far easier to keep track of since the number of releases isn’t as overwhelming, and in the case of Xenon Valkyrie Vita owners actually get a “plus” version of the game. “Major gameplay improvements and additions” were promised for it, but because I’m not familiar with the original I can’t comment on how these differences play out in the game.
It’s a retro-inspired game in many ways, with a sci-fi/fantasy theme in which you battle into a distant moon to defeat an evil witch. The plot isn’t too spectacular and nor is the story development (although there are plenty of characters to meet and talk to), but the emphasis here is on gameplay. The main dynamic is all about platforming, but heavily imbued with RPG elements. Between levels, which are randomly generated, you get to upgrade your character’s skills as well as buy health/armor items. Revisiting levels after doing so will allow you to reach new areas and find new treasure, so you’re likely to get a lot of mileage out of the game.
In addition, you’ll want to go back just to upgrade your character more for the challenges ahead, since Xenon Valkyrie+ features permadeath – just as games back in the day did. Speaking of which, the game also has a lovely pixel art kind of visual design, with a good use of color and tiny details and effects. This retro flavor is enhanced through the use of chiptune music, giving you a sense of playing a late eighties classic with modern nuances.
You can play the game with your choice of pre-generated heroes, each with their own special skillset – playing with someone whose emphasis is combat strength will result in a different kind of playthrough than when using someone with tons of agility. This is especially true during boss fights, where you’ll have to change your tactics accordingly – although in some cases upgrading your character beforehand is the best kind of tactic there is.
Despite the randomly generated levels, Xenon Valkyrie+ does a good job of introducing you to the various gameplay mechanics early on in the game. It’s smart to take your time here, because things get progressively harder later on. Better weapons will make things easier, but acquiring them isn’t a given – exploration is one of the keys to success here. To this end you can even create your own paths by destroying parts of the environment in order to reach more treasure.
Xenon Valkyrie+ is a wonderful little indie title for the Vita, which is getting lots of indie developer love lately. One of the better examples I’ve played so far, it’s a game well worth picking up for Vita owners.